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Gems from the East: Quotations and Sayings

The citations and other sayings below have been sampled from Gems from the East: A Birthday Book of Precepts and Axioms. It was compiled by Helena Blavatsky (1831-91), who culled them chiefly from Oriental writings. The book was first published in London in 1890. I have taken a look into them and selected 69 out of 360 sayings. Of the 69 sayings found here, some have been extracted from longer sentences. Also, those marked by * have been modified by me, and the language updated too. Moreover, I have sought to make statements plainer, so that it becomes easier to reflect on their key meanings too.

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To every man that is born, an axe is born in his mouth, and the fool cuts himself with it when speaking bad language. *

As the bee collects nectar and departs without injuring the flower or its colour or scent, so let a sage dwell in his village.

Let us contrive to think well.

Narrowness of mind causes stubbornness.

Not everyone ready for a dispute is as quick in transacting business.

A traveller without observation is like a bird without wings. *

One proof is better than ten arguments.

Every tree has its shadow.

The best possession is health.

Excuse is better than disputation.

Unwillingness of strife is better than eagerness in seeking it.

A good word in time can be better than a sweet pie after meals. *

Extensive knowledge and science, well-regulated discipline and well-spoken speech, are some of the blessings. *

When thought is purified, then the self arises.

By perfection in study and meditation the Supreme Spirit becomes manifest; study is one eye to behold it, and meditation is the other.

Let a man strive to purify his thoughts.

The self is hidden in all beings.

When treachery appears, many blessings fly away. *

Man also consists of desires. *

Whoever, not being a sanctified person, pretends to be a saint, he is low among men. *

The wise guard the home of nature's order. *

The wise assume excellent forms in secret.

Great works need no great strength, but perseverance.

The higher Self knows that highest home of Brahman (All-God) which contains all and shines so bright.

The altar on which the sacrifice is offered is man.

Eternity does not change.

By oneself the evil is left undone, by oneself one is purified.

Self is the lord of Self.

There is a road that leads to wealth.

The virtuous man cannot be hurt.

The wise knows the Self as bodiless within the bodies ["fields, sheaths").

The happy man must prepare before the evil day comes.

Judge the tree by its fruits, man by his deeds.

Theosophy includes the art of living. *

Self-knowledge cannot be attained by what men usually call "self-analysis." It is not reached by reasoning.

Will is the offspring of the Divine.

When desire has lost all trace or tinge of "self" - then it is pure. *

Theosophy partially defined: nothing dogmatic can be Theosophical. *

Many a man will follow a mis-leader. Few will recognize truth at a glance.

As many passions of the soul, so many fierce and savage despots.

It is excellent to impede an unjust man; but if this be not possible, it is excellent not to act in conjunction with him.

Unenduring are youth, beauty, life, wealth, lordship, the society of the beloved; let not the wise be deluded by these.

If evil is said of you and it is true, correct yourself.

The man that finds pain in virtue, is still a novice.

He is a man who does not turn away from what he has said.

Not the tender pliant grass is uprooted by the storm, but the lofty trees.

Who gave the swan his whiteness, the parrot his wings of golden green, the peacock his iris-hues? Will not that which provided for them provide for you? [It remains to be seen.]

Hard to reunite are the wicked.

Shun him who secretly slanders, and praises openly; he is like a cup of poison, with cream on the surface.

The noble delight in the noble, the frog does not. *

The soul is not washed clean with water.

Of a gift to be received or given or an act to be done, time drinks up the flavour unless it is quickly performed. *

Eat and drink with your friends, but refrain from trading with them. *

What good is advice to a fool?

A good deal of man's actions are either purposeless, unimportant, or vain, or good. *

If we were convinced that we could never make our crooked ways straight, we might much more easily continue in our errors. *

As a digging man sometimes comes to water, so a zealous student at times gain good knowledge. *

He who does not know his own worth, will never appreciate the worth of others.

That man who accurately understands the movement and the cause of the revolutions of the wheel of life is never deluded.

Truth may purify a mind, and right discipline inspire it.

Intelligence is shown by good judgment.

By a trusty friend man is supported in life. *

He who bestows bounty on mankind, makes of mankind his debtor in a future birth.

A decent policy is not to boast much of one's virtues. *

A lovable man is proof against flattery.

Don't beg your tranquillity of another. *

Be good for something while you live; it can be in your power. *

Good commendation is not really necessary for what is much good in itself. *

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